BMW’s new 5 Touring may be more practical than a Volvo

Automated driving and big boot make 5 Series estate the ultimate grocery-run machine

The new BMW 5-Series Touring will go on sale in Ireland from June

The new BMW 5-Series Touring will go on sale in Ireland from June

 

Once upon a time, a BMW 5 Series Touring was a sexy, slinky alternative estate that you bought when you were more concerned about performance than practicality. No longer it would seem – the first photographs and specs of the new F30 model 5 Series Touring demonstrate it actually has a bigger boot than the new Volvo V90.

At 570-litres with the rear seats up and 1,700-litres with them down, it’s the most spacious and versatile 5 Series ever (with the possible exception of the somewhat unloved 5 GT). The fact that a much cheaper Skoda Superb offers even more luggage space for considerably less than the 5’s lowest possible €56,590 price tag is, we suppose, neither here nor there. It’s 36mm longer than the old 5 Touring, although the wheelbase has grown by a mere seven millimetres. It is as some 100kg lighter than before, however.

Quite apart from the extra space, the Touring follows it’s saloon progenitor in offering some serious high tech. As with the four-door, you can equip it with optional all-wheel drive xDrive for year-round capability. It’s more than likely that, in spite of the drift away from diesel power, that the 190hp 2.0-litre 520d will be the most popular model by far, but BMW will also offer a petrol plugin-hybrid iPerformance model with CO2 emissions starting from 44g/km.

That’s as nothing to the electronic tech on offer. BMW says that the 5’s onboard systems “further reduce the gap to automated driving.” Quite the boast from a car company which once reckoned itself to be “the ultimate driving machine” but BMW has reportedly resigned itself to a future where it has to appeal equally to non-drivers and keen drivers.

The onboard systems include a steering and lane-change assistant which can take almost total control on motorways, and there’s fully active autonomous braking with pedestrian detection for city driving. There’s also a remote parking system, operated from the key, which as on the 7 Series, allows you to shuffle the car in and out of tight parking spaces. The headlights come with standard LED lighting, while selective automatic high-beam LED lights are available as an option.

Customisable menu

Inside the Touring gets the same sixth-generation iDrive system as the saloon, which now combines the click-wheel controller with a touch screen, and a new customisable menu layout. The BMW Connected system is designed to more closely link the car to your smartphone and your home devices and, through Microsoft Exchange, can help you manage your email and calendar while on the move and the system can be controlled with a mix of voice recognition and gesture control. There’s also the option of a wifi hotspot with connections for up to ten devices. Which, considering there’s a maximum of five seats, may be slightly excessive.

The chassis can be augmented with active steering and adaptive dampers, while the engine range has seen an overall 11 per cent improvement in fuel consumption while the diesel models get a new selective catalytic reduction system to help quell harmful diesel emissions. All Touring models will get rear air suspension as standard as well as a powered tailgate, which can optionally be fitted with a hands-free controller (where you waggle your foot under the back bumper).

The new 5 Series Touring will go on sale in Ireland in June.